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Old 12-30-16, 09:12 PM
Tourist in MSN
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,250

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

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RESURRECTING A THREE MONTH OLD THREAD WITH AN UPDATE. I was not sure if I should start a new thread or continue this one, but this one has good info in it so I chose not to start a new one.

Originally Posted by mibike View Post
I like using Eneloops and use them most of the time. I have also used other NiMH batteries in it.

You can use a piece of plastic to hold in the button so they will charge in the 64s. I have read the charger in it is not very good and is hard on batteries. I always remove mine and charge them in a separate charger.
I have been looking for a better GPS option and bought the Garmin 64, in part based in comments on this thread.

It warmed up to above freezing yesterday so I took the Garmin 64 out for a bike ride for a couple hours. Studded tires are slow, so my average speed was probably about 10 to 11 mph, with variation from that on hills. Thus I was probably pretty close to my average fully loaded touring speeds.

I plugged the Garmin 64 into the USB port on a charger that was supplied with my dynohub. Started out with no cache battery at first to see how it would work. It kept giving me a warning that it was not charging. It was usually drawing between 100 and 200 milliamps at this time. When I got up to 15 mph, it stopped giving me lack of charge warnings, but it still did not seem to be charging the batteries at that speed and was not drawing much power. At home when I put it on a USB charger plugged into a 110 volt outlet, it consumed about 600 milliamps to both operate and charge the AA batteries in it. Thus, I knew that at less than 200 milliamps, it was not doing much to charge the batteries.

After about 45 minutes I hooked a cache battery into the circuit. (The dynohub supplied power to a USB charger, that supplied power to the cache battery, I then simultaneously drew power from that cache battery pack to put into the Garmin 64.) The cache battery provided a consistent power supply to the Garmin while the dynohub provided a less consistent supply to the cache battery. Suddenly everything worked great. The USB port consistently supplied between 500 and 600 milliamps to the cache battery, I did not have a meter to measure the flow into the Garmin 64 but it worked just fine with no warnings so I assume it was drawing all the power it needed to operate and charge the AA batteries too. During the next hour the two NiMH batteries in the Garmin gained a stronger charge, I started the ride out with two of four bars showing the battery charge and at the end of my ride all four bars showed the battery closer to full charge.

Additional notes on operation:
- As noted in previous posts above, the Garmin 64 will not charge the batteries in it unless something presses down on the internal button. That button is pushed when using the Garmin battery pack but two AA NiMH batteries on their own will not push it. I put a little bit of metal plate (cut from a food can steel lid with a tin snips) in it to push the button down when two AA batteries push on it.
- I was surprised that the Garmin 64 screen stayed lit while charging AND what surprised me even more was that the batteries accepted a charge while the screen stayed on. All my comments here are based on only two hours of riding so I do not know how long it would take to fully chage up a pair of AA NiMH batteries, but I think it is likely a reasonable time. I was running 10+ year old batteries, so newer higher capacity batteries would likely take more time to fully charge than my short bike ride yesterday.
- If anyone tries to use a Garmin 64 this way, note that the Garmin uses a USB mini, not a USB micro plug, so you need a less common cable. Also note that the Garmin 62 can't charge batteries in it the way that a Garmin 64 can. I do not know which other Garmins can be charged while in use, thus I am not providing a list.
- I configured one of the little data fields on the map screen to show battery state, when charging it continuously showed a lightning bolt graphic over four bars for battery life, the four bars were slowly blinking when taking a charge. The lightning bolt disappears when operating while not charging. And when charging first starts, you see an electric plug graphic for a brief time instead.
- If you use a Garmin 64 (or 62 or similar GPS) you will find that a lot of on-screen use will deplete the batteries faster when it is not simultaneously being charged. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised that when charging batteries in the 64 that the screen stayed on. On my Garmin 62S I have it configured to time-out the screen after only 30 seconds to save battery life. (The Garmin 62S can't be charged while in use.)
- There are three different GPS units in the Garmin 64 series, the 64, 64S and 64ST. I bought the 64. If you are shopping, do the research yourself on differences between the models.

My bottom line conclusion is that I plan to use the Garmin 64 (with the required cache battery) for my future tours. I also carry a camera (and take lots and lots of photos), an android phone (normally off, only used where I have wifi), two AAA powered taillights (normally one or both is on when rolling), and headlamp (for my head) powered by AAA batteries. I have also sometimes carried a Steripen and a 7 inch tablet. In other words, I have a lot of electrical toys with me. I am confident that I can stay self sufficient for all of my electrical charging needs based on my limited experience with the Garmin 64 so far.

In the past I have used a vintage Garmin Vista (old black and white model) GPS that could be used with the screen on full time with good battery life. But the Vista had tiny memory, no routing, was good but no longer great. And for past couple years I also carried a separate Garmin 62S that seemed to burn thru batteries pretty quick so I left the 62S off unless I temporarily needed it for routing or for finding a store or something in the database. I think the 64 will serve my needs as a sole GPS for bike touring quite well.

Note to Mibike, thanks for posting your detailed comments on your experience with the Garmin 64S. You commented that you prefer to charge your AA batteries in a Powerchimp instead of the Garmin, but I think I will find the Garmin works better for me.
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